5 Essential Oils To Reduce Brain Fog & Promote Mental Clarity

Written by Jen Broyles
Medical review by Sarah Villafranco, M.D.
Founder of Osmia Organics
Sarah Villafranco, M.D., is a natural skin care expert and practiced emergency medicine for 10 years. She received a B.A. from Georgetown University, and then went on to get her M.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Still Life of Essential Oils and Serums

Image by Marc Tran / Stocksy

Essential oils are natural aromatic plant compounds that can promote a healthy body and mind. Trouble focusing? Here are a few oils and blends to keep at your desk for easy access. Early research finds that they are promising for reducing brain fog, easing stress, and promoting mental clarity:

1. Lavender

Lavender is prized for its calming and relaxing properties. Diffusing lavender oil can help put your nervous system in a parasympathetic rest-and-digest state, versus the fight-or-flight one that many of us often resort to during stressful times. Ingest a few drops after a busy day to calm down and promote a clear mind.

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2. Frankincense

Legend has it that frankincense has been used to support healthy bodily function for thousands of years. During biblical times, frankincense was said to be valued even more than gold. One recent study on rats indicated that the essential oil can indeed help improve memory retention and sharpen the mind.

3. Vetiver

Vetiver is a thicker oil that carries an earthy fragrance. It has powerful calming and grounding effects on emotions, which make it a popular oil in massage therapy. It has been shown to reduce stress in sleep-deprived rats and is often used in humans to promote restful sleep and aid in recovery from emotional turmoil.

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4. Lemon

Citrus oils like lemon are very uplifting to the mind and body. Lemon, when used aromatically, promotes physical energy and purification. Its invigorating fragrance is warming, and certain rodent studies support the use of lemon essential oil for reducing stress and boosting mood and focus.

5. Peppermint

Peppermint is a popular oil that is said to stimulate the mind to help support memory, focus, concentration, and mental performance. In one study on 24 participants, those who ingested a higher concentration of peppermint essential oil reported less mental fatigue after cognitively demanding tasks.

In addition to the oils above, here are a couple of mood-boosting blends to try out:

For worried, anxious thoughts:

  • Vetiver
  • Lavender
  • Frankincense
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Clary Sage

To elevate mood and increase vitality:

  • Lavender
  • Hawaiian Sandalwood
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Wild Orange

When choosing essential oils, it's important to do your research and make sure you're getting therapeutic-grade oils that are made using the purest ingredients. When you've chosen your oils, diffuse 3 to 6 drops of them in your home or office using a diffuser, inhale a couple of drops from the bottle, or place a few drops of a skin-safe oil in an Epsom salt bath for the ultimate at-home spa treatment.

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